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12-02-2006, 08:46 PM
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With the NHL reformation, (I hate the "new NHL" clichée) it's alot more about simple math. You have $44 million and you can't overpay your team. Rangers tried and failed miserably before the salary reformation. So, what it all comes down to is addition and efficiency, efficiency for the money you pay.

If you look at the first bright side, Rangers are in a very good position. Our first line is one of the absolute best in the whole NHL (all three in the top 10 in scoring) and comes at a reasonable price, $3.1, $4.94 and $2.027 million. While I haven't checked so many of the other teams top lines, my prediction is it's the most productive line according to salary. Most certainly the most productive line in the whole NHL.

The second bright part is Lundqvist. If you look at his skill and then his paycheck, you awe. That's $1.88 million in cap hit. Many teams pay around $6 million for a goalie like that. Incredible efficiency there as well.

Now to some slightly bad stuff. The second line is misfiring for $0.538 (Prucha, certainly no damage there), $2.875 (Cullen, argh!) and $4 (Shanahan, who is in fact certainly worth his money, since he is producing). The problem as I and many others see it is Cullen. Now he is an effective center, we saw it in Carolina, he just isn't used in the ways as he was so good in his former team. For the money we give him, we certainly don't use him for it. We can address this as efficiency problem number one.

The third and the fourth lines are in tune for their efficiency. They shut down other lines, they kill penalties and they hit people, for the money we pay them for. No complaints here, except for that we could use them more than we are actually doing.

While Weekes is a great team guy, he is paid second most money in the league for being a backup goaltender (if I remember it right). $1.95 million to be exact, more than Lundqvist. I can understand this though, as it wasn't expected by the Rangers organisation (or anyone else who hadn't seen Lundqvist before) that Lundqvist would step up and be the 1st. Weekes was intended to be the no.1 and his salary says so. Not so much complaint here.

Now we come to the real, painful argh in efficiency in the Rangers organisation. That's right, the defensemen. You could either laugh or cry when you look at their paychecks and then at their production on the ice. And with production I mean not just points (which is second in mind for a D-man if not his salary says something else), but skill and expected efficiency.

I don't know where to start, but let's start with our first pairing, Rozsival and Malik, $2.1 and $2.5. As all of us know, at the start of the season, they were absolutely dreadful. They were worth 0.1$ and 0.5$. Malik still hasn't shown us why he is worth $2.5, while Rozsival is at least doing something right out there. They certainly aren't showing us why they are expected and being paid as first pairing defensemen yet. I'm harsh, yes, but it's business. They could be very efficient first pairing D-men if they would actually play as first pairing D-men, but unfortunately they aren't.

As for second pairing, Ward and Tyutin, it's a "ok", mostly because Ward is capping $2.75 as a second pairing defenseman. He's not bad, he is just to my definitions slightly overpaid, but not by that much (since most NHL teams tend to overpay D-men nowadays). So I can live with that, since he is a decent D-guy. Tyutin is a pup to the age of solid D-men and is paid $0.988 million, and has been taught the lethal hipcheck by Kaspar, so he is certainly on the +side in efficiency in my book. He also has a good shot, which Renney has chosen to totally neglect on the PP.

Now for the third pairing. Things are really getting down to ugly when you have a former offensive D-man - which is paid to be a offensive top D-man - at the third pairing clearing the crease. Yes, I'm talking about Ozolinsh at $2.75 million as a freaking third pairing defensive D-man. Now we are starting to talk overpaid by a margin, which means this money can't be distributed where they are needed to. Rachunek is paid $1.8, which by a Rangers standard is quite alright, but by a league standard is probably not so alright. He is probably paid almost twice as much as I would like to pay a third pairing D-man, but he is still not hurting the team efficiency that much.

Now comes the joker, Kaspar. We have frigging $2.989 floating around in midair, not contributing at all to the team right now. That is a Cullen sitting in the stands, or one and a half Nylander or three Lundqvists.

To come to my conclusion, it's all about what you pay and what you get. We are not getting what we pay our D-men, not by far. If we want to become a solid Stanley Cup contender, we need to use our advantage in efficiency given by mostly our first line and Lundqvist and get ourselves a solid second line playmaking center (which in hand would probably make Cullen overpaid, especially if we continue to not use him where he excelled in Carolina). Our main problems right now are Ozo and Kaspar, who are chewing off a redicilous amount of $5.739 in cap hit. That's a pretty darn amazing second line center, even if we get ourselves another third D-man for about $1 (instead of Ozo and Kaspar). As I've said before, I have nothing against our players personally, they're great guys, it's just business.

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